Teen Charged With Manslaughter After He Shot And Killed Girlfriend While ‘Play Fighting’ With A Gun

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Teen Charged With Manslaughter After He Shot And Killed Girlfriend While ‘Play Fighting’ With A Gun

Lafayette Hodges is being held without bail and cried through his mug shot photos.

PUBLISHED ON : JANUARY 3, 2020 / 01:30 PM

Written by Zayda Rivera

A Chicago teen is behind bars after shooting and killing his girlfriend while “play fighting” with a gun. 

Lafayette Hodges has been ordered held without bail after the 18-year-old was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter for shooting and killing his 19-year-old girlfriend, Lyniah Bell, with a gun he thought was unloaded Friday (Dec. 27) night in East Chatham, prosecutors said, CBS reports

Hodges cried through his mug shot photos and through his bond hearing on Monday (Dec. 30), CBS reports.

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During the hearing, a judge set Hodges’ bail at $50,000 but ordered him held without bail for violating the terms of his earlier bond, CBS reports. 

In April, Hodges was arrested and charged with aggravated battery of a police officer and resisting arrest after he reportedly punched and bit two officers, according to court records, CBS reports.  

Hodges was released after posting bail, but was reportedly arrested at least two more times on drug charges, CBS reports.

At the time of the shooting on Friday (Dec. 27), Hodges was out on bail in the aggravated battery case, CBS reports.

On Monday (Dec. 30), Hodges’ defense attorney said he was not a flight risk and requested the teen be released on electronic monitoring, CBS reports. 

Hodges had been dating Bell for nine months before the shooting, prosecutors said, CBS reports.

Around 10 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 27), officers were called to Hodges’ home after a witness reported hearing a gunshot while Bell was in the bedroom, prosecutors said, CBS reports. 

Hodges, who fled the scene and called his mother to tell her what happened, turned himself in early Saturday (Dec. 28), about six hours after Bell was shot and killed, prosecutors said, CBS reports. 

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He told police he thought the revolver was unloaded while “play fighting” with it and pointing it at himself, another friend, and Bell before pulling the trigger, Cook County prosecutors said, CBS reports. 

Hodges claimed the friend, whose name has not been released, brought the gun to his house and emptied the bullets onto the bed before he started playing with it, according to prosecutors, CBS reports.

He also told detectives that when he pointed the gun at Bell, she said, “he loved her too much to hurt her.” While nothing happened when he pulled the trigger on himself and the friend, Hodges said it went off in Bell’s face when he pointed it at her and pulled the trigger, according to prosecutors, CBS reports. 

The 19-year-old woman, who was home on winter break from Michigan State University, was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene, but the gun has not been recovered, CBS reports. 

Bell’s family does not believe Hodges’ story, CBS reports.

“You had six and a half hours to come up with a story, recruit a witness, get rid of a gun,” Sam Brown, Bell’s cousin, said outside the courtroom, CBS reports.

“Him sitting in court crying, I would have cried too, OK?” said Joseph Wright, also Bell’s cousin. “He should have had tears coming out his eyes. He should have, because he took an innocent life,” CBS reports.

Bell’s family wants to see him charged with “first-degree murder,” Brown said, CBS reports. 

Hodges next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday (Dec. 31) for the previous aggravated battery case, CBS reports.

His next hearing for the involuntary manslaughter case is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, CBS reports.

Photo: David Tran


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